with Tobi Raji

It's Friday. We made it. It's still National Park Week – hope everyone can get a little fresh air this weekend. This is the Power Up newsletter; thanks for waking up with us. See you on Monday. 

The people

‘THE BOY NEXT DOOR PHENOMENON’: Young Americans are more optimistic about the future and far more approving of U.S. leadership under President Biden than during ex-president Donald Trump's tenure, according to a new Harvard Youth Poll released on Friday. 

Biden has hit the highest favorability rating — 63 percent — among college students who are registered voters of any president in the youth poll's 21-year history, according to the poll. 

Sitting at an overall 59 percent approval rating with those surveyed, Biden's popularity among young voters also marks a dramatic U-turn for the 78-year-old president: at this time last year, only 34 percent of all young adults viewed Biden favorably, per the spring 2020 Harvard Youth Poll. Read the full results here.

  • “Joe Biden hasn't really changed much but it's like the ‘boy next door’ phenomenon: you take a second look and you see these qualities that you never appreciated before,” John Della Volpe, a former Biden campaign youth vote adviser and the Harvard Kennedy School Institute of Politics polling  director told Power Up. “You knew he kind of had the same values but he shares much more of your values that you might have thought before — certainly in the way he thinks about government and America and people are responding to how quickly he's been able to instill some of his values in the practice of government.
  • George W. Bush came in at 61 percent in 2003; Barack Obama at 57 percent in 2016. 
  • Fifty-nine percent of 18-to-29 year old Americans approve of Biden's overall job performance; 65 approve of his handling of the coronavirus; and 57 percent of race relations, according to the poll.
  • Please join us today at 4pm EST to discuss the poll further. 

Another striking development: young Americans are more hopeful about the future of America than they were in the fall of 2017 – almost a year after former president Trump took office. Only 31 percent of young Americans were hopeful about the future of America at the time and 67 percent were fearful. 

Four years later, 56 percent of young Americans are more optimistic – especially young people of color. 

  • “While the hopefulness of young whites has increased 11 points, from 35 percent to 46 percent – the changes in attitudes among young people of color are striking,” according to a memo penned by Della Volpe. “Whereas only 18 percent of young Blacks had hope in 2017, today 72 percent are hopeful (+54). In 2017, 29 percent of Hispanics called themselves hopeful, today that number is 69% (+40).”
  • Notable: the polling was conducted before the verdict that found former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin guilty of murder and manslaughter in the death of George Floyd.
  • “It wasn't long ago at all that a supermajority of young Black Americans – and almost as many Hispanic Americans – would tell me that they felt under attack in America simply because of the color of their skin,” Della Volpe noted. 

And for all of the caricatures of young Americans, the poll found that young people are open minded, more likely to be politically engaged than they were a decade ago and favor big government solutions to problems. 

  • Thirty-six percent of young Americans are politically active, with young Black voters (41 percent) the most active among that group. That's a 12-point difference from a 2009 poll that found in the fall after Obama's election that 24 percent of young Americans considered themselves to be politically active.
  • By a margin of nearly three-to-one, we found that youth agreed with the sentiment, ‘Americans with different political views from me still want what’s best for the country’ in total, 50% agreed, 18% disagreed, and 31% were recorded as neutral,” according to Della Volpe's memo. 
  • The poll found a majority of young Americans favor government intervention on the issues of poverty, combating climate change, and health care. 
  • From a messaging perspective, Della Volpe argues the Biden administration should continue to focus on “helping people who need it there's zero question that there's was a significant generational shift when Generation Z'ers came into the election on every issue supporting a bolder, strong government. 

How are you, really?: But even with the infusion of optimism, young Americans are struggling with their mental health after a year of social isolation and disruption because of the coronavirus pandemic, according to the poll. 

Fifty-one percent of young Americans responded that at least several days in the last two weeks, they've felt down, depressed or hopeless. And in the last two weeks, 53 percent of college students said their mental health was negatively impacted by school or work-related issues; 34 percent have been negatively impacted by the coronavirus. 

  • 19% say they feel this way more than half of the time,” according to the poll. “In addition, 68% have little energy, 59% say they have trouble with sleep, 52% find little pleasure in doing things. 49% have a poor appetite or are over-eating, 48% cite trouble concentrating, 32% are moving so slowly, or are fidgety to the point that others notice and 28% have had thoughts of self-harm.” 
  • Among those most likely to experience bouts of severe depression triggering thoughts that they would be better off dead or hurting themselves are young people of color (35% Black, 31% Hispanic), whites without a college experience (31%), rural Americans (34%), and young Americans not registered to vote (38%).” 

🚨: “I'd be very concerned about the poll if I was Jack Dorsey or Facebook," Della Volpe told Power Up. “Facebook and Twitter are ranked as the the least trusted institutions.”

An overwhelming majority of young Americans – more than three-in-four – have little trust in Facebook or Twitter "to do the right thing,” and 48 percent of young Americans believe that big tech should be regulated by the government. 

  • Facebook is ranked as the least trustworthy of the 16 institutions in the survey – with only 19 percent of young Americans who trust the social media platform to do the right thing all or most of the time.
  • Young Americans also don't trust the media, Wall Street, and Congress.

As the Facebook Oversight Board decides whether to reverse a ban on former President Trump's Facebook account, it's worth noting that 58 percent of young Americans believe that political leaders should be held to stricter standards on social media than ordinary citizens. And 52 percent believe that Twitter's permanent ban on Trump's account was necessary.

  • Related: Two-thirds of young people, but only 26 percent of young Republicans, believe that Joe Biden won the election fairly.

The policies

MORE NUMBERS: Most Americans support greater police scrutiny as discrimination concerns persist, according toa new Washington Post-ABC News poll out this morning. The poll was conducted Sunday through Wednesday, overlapping with the guilty verdict against Chauvin was delivered (late in the day).

“Six in 10 Americans say the country should do more to hold police accountable for mistreatment of Black people, far outpacing concerns about those measures interfering with how law enforcement does its job, according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll,” our colleagues Scott Clement and Emily Guskin report. The full numbers are here.

  • “The nationwide survey also finds that concerns over treatment of Black Americans and other minorities by the criminal justice system ― which spiked last summer amid national protests after George Floyd’s killing ― have eased slightly since then. But those concerns remain at the highest point in previous surveys dating back to 1988.”
  • “Atop a series of law enforcement killings in recent years, Floyd’s death and the nationwide protests that followed appear to have shaken Americans’s confidence in police. In 2014, 54 percent said they were confident police were adequately trained to avoid the use of excessive force, but that dropped to 47 percent last July and 44 percent this month, with 55 percent now saying they lack confidence in police on this question.”
  • “Along with that shift, Americans now support greater scrutiny of police conduct. A 60 percent majority say the country should do more to hold police accountable for mistreatment of Black people, while 33 percent say the country is doing too much to interfere in how police officers do their job.”

BIDEN SPELLS OUT CLIMATE GOAL: “In one of the most surreal summit meetings ever, President Biden on Thursday hosted more than 40 world leaders in a bid to restore the United States’s damaged diplomatic reputation and to rally nations around the globe to make deeper cuts to greenhouse gas emissions,” our colleagues Brady Dennis, Juliet Eilperin and Steven Mufson report

  • The promise: “Three months after officially rejoining the Paris climate accord, the White House on Thursday unveiled a new pledge to reduce U.S. emissions between 50 and 52 percent by 2030 compared with 2005 levels.”
  • But success will mean a very different America. “By the end of the decade, more than half of the new cars and S.U.V.s sold at dealerships would need to be powered by electricity, not gasoline. Nearly all coal-fired power plants would need to be shut down. Forests would need to expand. The number of wind turbines and solar panels dotting the nation’s landscape could quadruple,” the New York Times’s Brad Plumer reports
President Biden on April 22, emphasized the economic benefits of fighting climate change during the first day of his administration's global climate summit. (The Washington Post)

Biden also pledged to “spend $5.7 billion annually helping developing nations deal with climate change and propel clean energy,” Bloomberg’s Jennifer A Dlouhy and Ari Natter report

  • But environmental activists say it’s not enough. “This is insufficient to address the needs described by vulnerable countries today,” Joe Thwaites, an associate with the World Resources Institute’s Sustainable Finance Center, told Dlouhy and Natter. Activists have asked for $8 billion to $800 billion through 2030.

On the Hill

REPUBLICANS UNVEIL $568 BILLION COUNTEROFFER: “Senate Republicans on Thursday offered an early counterproposal in the nascent Washington debate over improving the country’s aging infrastructure, endorsing roughly $568 billion in new spending that could be financed through higher fees on some drivers,” our colleagues Tony Romm and Jeff Stein report

  • “The plan, backed by Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (W.Va.) and other GOP lawmakers who hold key committee posts, dedicates most of its funding, totaling $299 billion, toward repairing roads, highways and bridges. That would double the amount of money that Biden put toward fixing public roadways as part of his proposal, known as the American Jobs Plan.”
  • “Republicans also call for setting aside $61 billion for public transit, $44 billion for airports and $65 billion for broadband Internet access. The party’s infrastructure blueprint further proposes $35 billion for water and wastewater projects, mirroring the amount they are supporting as part of a bipartisan water infrastructure bill slated to come before the Senate next week.”

DC STATEHOOD BILL PASSES HOUSE, HEADS TO SENATE: “For the second time in history, the House passed legislation Thursday to make the District of Columbia the nation’s 51st state, bolstering momentum for a once-illusory goal that has become a pivotal tenet of the Democratic Party’s voting rights platform,” our colleague Meagan Flynn reports. The bill now heads to the Senate, where the “political odds remain formidable.” 

  • “The Senate filibuster requires the support of 60 senators to advance legislation. Republicans, who hold 50 seats, have branded the bill as a Democratic power grab because it would create two Senate seats for the deep-blue city.”
  • And “not all Senate Democrats have backed the bill.”
The House passed legislation to make Washington, D.C., the 51st state and to grant its more than 700,000 residents full representation in Congress. (Amber Ferguson/The Washington Post)

HATE CRIME BILL FLIES THROUGH SENATE: “The Senate overwhelmingly passed legislation Thursday designed to more forcefully investigate hate crimes, particularly those against Asian Americans after the March 16 shootings at three Atlanta spas and a wave of violence following the spread of the coronavirus from China last year,” our colleague Paul Kane reports. “The vote was 94 to 1. Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) was the lone no vote.”

At the White House

SEARCHING FOR THE ‘BIDEN DEPRESSION’: “Throughout last year’s campaign, President Donald Trump issued a series of increasingly dark predictions about what would happen if Biden were elected,” our colleague David J. Lynch writes

  • “If he gets in, you will have a depression the likes of which you’ve never seen. Your 401(k)s will go to hell and it’ll be a very, very sad day for this country,” Trump said in the Oct. 22 candidate debate.
  • “Instead, the rebounding economy is headed for its best year since 1984, according to the International Monetary Fund … [and] more than 1.3 million jobs have been added since the election.”
  • “Trump’s wild campaign claims of an imminent depression have complicated Republican efforts to develop an economic message that can dent Biden’s popular support.”

In the agencies

HUD SECRETARY REVERSES ANOTHER TRUMP-ERA PROPOSAL: “Housing Secretary Marcia L. Fudge announced Thursday the withdrawal of a Trump-era proposal to allow federally funded homeless shelters to exclude transgender people by accommodating only people whose sex assigned at birth matches those served by single-sex homeless shelters,” our colleague Tracy Jan reports.

  • The reversal, which enforces a 2016 Obama-era rule, protects “transgender people from discrimination — and danger — at homeless shelters because they are often denied access to an emergency shelter that corresponds to their gender identity. Transgender people already face disproportionately high rates of homelessness,” HUD officials told our colleague.

In the media

WEEKEND REEEADS: 

Viral

TO INFINITY AND BEYOND 🚀: SpaceX successfully launched another crew of astronauts to the International Space Station this morning.